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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading

There are many things I wished I knew before we started homesteading. These things would have made it easier when times were difficult or I felt like giving up. Hopefully these tips will help you wherever you are in your homestead journey.

A large garden with a hoop house in the foreground.

The Difference Between Simple & Easy

The first thing I wish I knew before homesteading was the difference between simple and easy.

The homesteading life is a very simple life in that it makes sense. You put your seeds in the ground, you harvest them and they go on your plate. In some ways, it’s extremely simple, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

It’s very easy to picture this homesteading life where you’re relaxing on the patio drinking coffee, listening to the rooster crow and watching your children playing out in the yard. But the reality is that homesteading takes a lot of work and a large commitment and, unless you’re intentional about it, there’s very little time for sitting and watching.

Homesteading is for people who really want to be involved in the here and now of their life to make things better for their families… even if it means a lot of work.

When I first started homesteading I had a bit of a misunderstanding between simple and easy. Yes, it’s a simple life, but it’s not always easy.

A man crouched down beside a black pig.

Don’t Take On Too Much at Once

Taking on too much at once will always come back to haunt you. Right now there are a lot of people feeling the urgency to do more.

The reality is there’s a large learning curve to everything we do and every new skill we want to learn on the homestead. It’s important that you’re prepared for that.

Things can be really easy to get started, such as the garden, but once it gets into full swing it takes a lot more work to do all the harvesting and preserving on the other side. Start slowly, start methodically, and add on new skills only once you’ve mastered the previous skill.

A mother and her children direct sowing seeds into the garden.

Bonding

When you work closely with friends or family on one specific task, then you get to celebrate the fruits of your labor together. That bonds people together in a way that’s rarely seen in today’s modern culture.

When you’ve struggled through bad weather, worked out in the hot sun, had to deal with problems or issues, and then you can sit down at the end of the day and enjoy the rewards of your work, that’s such an incredible feeling.

If I could have seen the relationships I would build with my children in the early days, when it was hard with small children and toddlers, it would have helped me get through those difficult seasons.

Two kids picking spinach in a large garden.

A Little Bit Everyday Goes a Long Way

It’s so much easier doing a little bit every day instead of doing a large task all at once. You’ll get so much more done if you just commit to consistently doing a little bit each and every day.

It’s also easier to fit smaller tasks into a busy schedule when it’s broken up into shorter portions of time.

Jars of dried herbs, or mortar and pestle and a notebook sitting on a kitchen counter.

The Importance of Managing the Home

One thing I wished I had realized earlier on is that if my household is not functioning on a basic level then it’s going to be very difficult to layer on animals, gardens, or other projects.

It wasn’t until our household was running smoothly (learn my tips for running a smooth household here) that adding more tasks to the homestead wasn’t overwhelming. Make sure your household is running smoothly before adding in other projects.

Learning to homestead while on a budget is another important aspect of homestead management.

A young girl churning an old-fashioned ice cream maker.

The Flavor of Homegrown Food

I knew homesteading meant I would save money and get food that was healthier and more nutrient-dense than from the grocery store. But what I didn’t realize was how much better tasting the flavors of that food would be!

We can barely go to a restaurant now, even a high-end restaurant, knowing how much that dinner will cost us, and justify the expense of eating out when it just won’t taste as good as we can make it from home.

A woman holding up a loaf of artisan bread.

Learning New Skills Takes Time

If you’re learning something new and feel like it’s taking a long time, that’s because it is. Learning new skills takes a while and it can be challenging. But once you learn that skill and it becomes routine, you’ll find it takes much less time out of your day and you don’t even remember the struggle of learning it.

Just know that once you get through the learning phase, the practice and execution of it ongoing won’t take as long. This is why I go back to tip #2 of not taking on too much at a time.

Drone shot of a homestead.

The Importance of Good Infrastructure

Setting your homestead and household up the correct way using permaculture design principles does cost money and labor upfront, but in the long run, it will save you time, energy, and even money later on.

Things like hose bibs, fences, barns, outbuildings, the location of your garden, orchard, etc. These things all cost money to get set up the right way, but if you can do it right from the beginning, you’ll save yourself so much time and energy (and even money).

For example, if your animal’s feed isn’t convenient to where you feed the animals and it takes you a couple of extra minutes each day to feed them, then over the course of a year, you will have wasted hours of time!

Two young girls working in the yard with wheelbarrow.

Character Building

As a kid, when you grow up on a homestead and you’re responsible for animals, gardens, and other chores, you learn a level of responsibility that’s rarely seen in today’s modern world.

My children are incredibly responsible people! They know how to cook, they know how to garden and to raise animals, and they also know how to problem solve.

Being on a homestead has created the opportunity for them to learn these skill sets and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. There are many reasons why you should start homesteading, and this is one of the biggest.

A family eating supper together at the dinner table.

The Need for Community

Finally, the last thing I wish I knew before we started homesteading was the importance and the need for community. Sometimes homesteading can feel lonely. A lot of times we homesteaders are doing what we’re doing because we feel very passionate about being resilient, more self-sufficient, etc., but that doesn’t mean the people around us share that same enthusiasm.

If you start talking to your friend about the latest thing you made, or the amazing herbs you’re growing and their eyes kind of gloss over, don’t get discouraged!

But let it help you realize that’s why it’s important to get plugged into a homesteading community where you can feel connected and supported, and fellowship with like-minded people.

It’s something I underestimated in my earlier years. I had no idea of the importance of the community aspect.

For this reason, we’ve put together a homesteading community that’s filled with satisfaction, great food, and even tutorials for you to grow and deepen your homesteading skills. You’ll get support from a like-minded homesteading community.

You’ll also get access to:

Our Homestead Kitchen Membership is open for 4 days only (July 8th-July 12th at 9 PM Pacific time)! Get access to ALL of our classes and a supportive community of like-minded people. For more details CLICK HERE… but hurry, the doors close on Tuesday!

A large garden with raised beds, rows and a hoop house.
A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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